Check the css classes that apply over your ContentPlaceHolder controls. The adjust of elements could appear if you are setting some rules like padding-bottom.
You might not see an image if the path the the image is not correct or your have not added proper handler mappings in IIS ( for example for items uploaded through Images and Documents module you need sflb.ashx handler mappings. You can easily observe the path to your image by using FireBug or another web tool.
Editing control properties - our control designer expose all public properties of a control, but you cannot use it to edit properties of RadMenuItem object for each node. You need a custom control that builds the items dynamically from the SiteMap or ICmsPage objects and you should expose properties that will allow you to manage the item in design mode. Here is a similar control
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